Ergonomics

Are you working comfortably at your workstation?

Overview

Welcome to our page! Here you will find out what RSI’s are, symptoms and stages of injuries, how to set up your workstation ergonomically, office exercises and much more. We hope your workstation is ergonomically friendly and we want to help you with that!

What is ergonomics?

Ergonomics comes from the Greek words “ergon” and “nomos” which means work and laws. Ergonomics is now used to describe the science of “designing the job to fit the worker, not forcing the worker to fit the job.” In other terms, setting up the workstation according to the individual instead of the other way around. This allows the worker to work with ease.

What is RSI?

Definition: Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is used to describe a range of painful conditions of the muscles, tendons and other soft tissues. It is caused by repetitive use of a part of the body. It is usually related to a task or occupation but some activities can also cause it. Unlike a normal strain following a sudden injury, symptoms of RSI can persist well beyond the time it would take symptoms of a normal strain to ease.

Symptoms and Stages of injury

The main cause is frequent and repetitive movements of a part of the body - for example, typing or using a computer mouse a lot.

Common symptoms include:

  • Pain or tenderness in the affected muscles of joints

  • Stiffness of the joints or muscles and tendons

  • Throbbing pain

  • Numbness and tingling due to damage or lack of blood supply to the nerves

  • There may be burning or a feeling of coldness.

  • Weakness of the affected muscles. For example, when the hand is affected there may be a weak grip. This may manifest as clumsiness and dropping objects as well.

  • Cramps are commonly seen in RSI and usually may affect the upper limbs.

  • There may be associated clicking, 'popping' or rubbing of a tendon

  • In more advanced cases there is a warm skin over the affected are and sometimes redness over the inflamed muscles can be noted.

Stage 1

Pain and aching in wrist, arms, shoulders and neck during work.

Stage 2

Pain, aching and swelling in wrist, arms, shoulders and neck during and after work.

Stage 3

Pain even when resting. Suffers when carrying out small and simple tasks. Sometimes it is irreversible at this stage.

Proper Set-up

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Chair: Use comfortable cushion, arm rests, adjustable seat height, adjustable backrest height, lumbar support, a swivel and roll around chair, do not sit at the edge of the chair, feet should be flat on the ground.

Mouse and Keyboard Placement: Keep mouse and keyboard together, the "B" key should be directly in front of you, elbows should be at a 90 degree angle, wrist should not be bent when typing, use a typing cushion.

Monitor: Should be about an arm's length away from you, should be placed a bit below or at eye level.

Desk height: (Refer to the picture with measurements)

Most important things on your desk should be easily reachable. Everything else should be placed in drawers or other areas in the office.

Prevention

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1.) Don't slouch!

2.) Take 10 second breaks frequently

3.) Walk around and do some exercises (listed below)

4.) Look away from your monitor and look at a distant objects every 20 minutes to reduce eye strain

5.) Relax your shoulders and back when working

6.) Keep wrists straight and elbows close to your shoulders

7.) Use a good, running software (will not cause frustration and makes work much quicker if the software runs quickly)

8.) Work in a comfortable environment (Proper temperature, proper lighting, adjust reflection and screen glare, level of humidity, level of noise and space)

Office Exercises

Neck Stretches

Pull on your neck gently to the left. You should feel a stretch in your neck. Hold for about 10 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Shoulder rolls

Make circles with your shoulders. Do about 10 circles.

Finger Stretches/ Hand Stretches

Pull fingers back and hold for 15 seconds, then pull your hand back. Do this for both your hands.

Leg Balancing

Lift one leg off the ground hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.

Wrist and Ankle Rotations

Rotate wrist clockwise for 10 seconds then rotate counter-clockwise for 10 seconds. Do the same with your ankles.

Ankle Flexing

Flex your ankle with toes pointing up then extend ankles, pointing your toes downwards. Do this to both your ankles and repeat 5 times.

Benefits

1.) Ergonomics reduce costs: Lower risk factors and prevent MSDs that are very costly.

2.) Ergonomics improves productivity: Workstation because more efficient when properly setup and an individual is comfortable.

  • 3.) Ergonomics improves quality of work: Workers may get frustrated or fatigued and they won’t perform at their best so their work will lack quality without an ergonomic friendly workstation.

  • 4.) Ergonomics improves engagement and motivation of workers: When employees notice that the company is trying their best to make sure everyone is safe and healthy, everyone would work more comfortable and in better conditions.

  • 5.) Ergonomics creates a better safety culture: Ergonomics can lead to better performance of each and every individual.
    Workplace Ergonomics

    Glossary

    Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) - is used to describe a range of painful conditions of the muscles, tendons and other soft tissues. It is caused by repetitive use of a part of the body. It is usually related to a task or occupation but some activities can also cause it.

    Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) - are pain or injuries in the body's joints, tendons, nerves, ligaments, muscles and structures that support the back, neck and limbs.

    Tendon - a flexible tissue in the body that attaches the muscle to the bone.

    Ligaments - small piece of connective tissue that is tough and flexible which connects two bones or holds together a joint.

    Fatigue - extreme tiredness


    Strain - to injure, or weaken a muscle or tendon by stretching.

    Made by:

    Sabrina L. and Aleksandra Z.

    2016

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